Suns or Lakers: Nash is purple
You listen to the games on Arizona Sports 620 when they're on the road and they win. You buy a ticket to a home game to see your Suns and they lose.
As soon as you're ready to give up on the Suns, they win. As soon as you're ready to believe in the Suns, they lose.
Whenever the Suns are losing, the topic of trading Steve Nash comes up. Whenever the Suns are winning or you hear Nash talk to the media, you realize how blessed we are to have Nash as a Sun. We all re-declare our devotion to the altar of the assist and go on our way.
I went to Thursday night's game. I wish I hadn't. The decision by Alvin Gentry to play the starters almost the entire 2nd half cost the Suns the game. If I was the coach of the Suns, I would have done the exact same thing.
It's easy to sit at a press table and say the bench should get another chance in the second half. A coach is paid to win and Gentry must have thought he'd lose if he played the bench again.
Does it matter if a game is lost in the 3rd quarter or the 4th quarter? I'm sure Gentry assumed going to his bench would guarantee a loss, so he was hoping to escape with his starters playing heavy minutes knowing the risk would be a late meltdown. The meltdown happened with 6 turnovers in the last 5 minutes against Houston.
So here we are again, to trade Nash or not to trade Nash? Shakespeare couldn't answer the question. It's easy to give an uneducated reason to trade Nash or to keep him, yet studying makes the decision much tougher since any Nash trade has to match salaries.
Categorize every NBA team into these columns:
1) TRUE CONTENDER: Right now you could win a championship.
2) MAKE A RUN BUT FALL SHORT: You might get lucky and go deep but there are true holes or you're just not ready to win it all.
3) ONE & DONE: You'll get in the playoffs but won't do anything when you get there.
4) LOTTERY UP: Will be a lottery team but are headed in the right direction (Minnesota).
5) LOTTERY DOWN: You're in the lottery but you've won too many games to really win the lottery and you have too many veterans to be going up (Suns).
6) BOTTOM FEEDERS: You live for the lottery and watch every Kentucky basketball game.
BOTTOM FEEDERS aren't going to give up draft picks and the team is bad so you have no players the Suns want. LOTTERY DOWN teams would never want to improve as they approach the lottery; would never want to trade draft picks; the Suns don't want their players anyway. LOTTERY UP teams wouldn't trade picks in case they get lucky in the lottery and they won't trade the young players they have complete control over. Most of the ONE & DONE teams just got a promotion from the LOTTERY UP category and they still control their young players. Although they'll be picking in the middle of the first round of the draft, that pick might be the one choice that bolsters their bench so they're ready for a run to a championship.
The only teams that would be interested in Nash are in the first two categories. Of course, the teams that fall into TRUE CONTENDER or MAKE A RUN BUT FALL SHORT already have a point guard and don't need Nash.
The only teams I could see that need Steve Nash are Oklahoma City, the Lakers, Portland, New York, Memphis and Miami.
1) OKLAHOMA CITY: Would have to give up Westbrook or Harden to make the salaries match; won't happen.
2) LOS ANGELES LAKERS: Would give only cast-offs to make the deal work so you'd have to rake them over the coals with future draft picks; Suns fans would never buy tickets again.
3) PORTLAND: This could actually work but you'd have to get Batum to agree to an extention and Portland would need to give up a 1st and a 2nd round pick which they wouldn't do; needed to be done a month ago.
4) NEW YORK: Everything they have to trade is gone in the Melo deal; to make the salaries work the Knicks would have to include Melo or Amare—won't happen.
5) MEMPHIS: Very doable from a Suns standpoint but Nash alone wouldn't vault the Grizz to championship caliber, so I think it's too risky for them.
6) MIAMI: You'd get very little back unless MIA is actually willing to trade Bosh. Suns would only get high-priced bench players in return. I would only do this as a Sun if I get 3 1st round picks.
As you look at the 6 possibilities, it leaves you with only one team left. Can you, as a Suns fan handle seeing Steve Nash help the Lakers win a title? I can't.
Next week: FIXING THE SUNS